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External Flow around an Atrium CFD Simulation

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The present problem simulates the external airflow through an atrium.

This ANSYS Fluent project includes CFD simulation files and a training movie.

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Externa Airflow over an Atrium Project Description

The present problem simulates the airflow through an atrium. The history of these atriums originates from the architecture of ancient Roman houses, and its modern models in recent centuries are multi-story and have a glass roof and a set of windows, often immediately located after the main entrances of the buildings. This part of the building is used to provide the necessary light for the interior of the building as well as the ventilation of the building.

Atriums basically work with two natural phenomena, including the greenhouse effect and the chimney effect. In the present study, the area around the atrium is considered to be that the airflow enters it horizontally at a rate of 8 m.s-1 at a pressure of 101325 Pa and hits the walls of the atrium. The aim of this study is to investigate the behavior of airflow around the walls of the atrium after colliding with them and to investigate the distribution of pressure and velocity of the flow around the atrium.

Atrium Geometry & Mesh

The present 3-D model is drawn using the Design Modeler software. The present model consists of a very large area in the form of a rectangular cube with dimensions of 3.35 m ⨯2.21 m ⨯3.9 m and an atrium inside the interior of this area. The following figure shows a view of the geometry.


The meshing of the model has been done using ANSYS Meshing software and the mesh type is unstructured. The element number is equal to 1953066, and the cells adjacent to the structures are smaller and more accurate. The following figure shows a view of the mesh.


CFD Simulation

To simulate the present model, several assumptions are considered:

  • A pressure-based solver has been performed.
  • The simulation is steady-state.
  • The effect of gravity on the fluid is not considered.

A summary of the steps for defining the problem and its solution is given in the table:

Viscous modelk-epsilon
k-epsilon modelRNG
near-wall treatmentstandard wall function
(atrium)Boundary conditions
InletVelocity inlet
velocity magnitude8 m.s-1
OutletPressure outlet
gauge pressure0 Pascal
Sidewalls and buildingWall
Wall motionstationary wall
(external flow)Solution Methods
Pressure-velocity coupling SIMPLE
Spatial discretizationpressuresecond-order
momentumsecond-order upwind
turbulent kinetic energyfirst-order upwind
turbulent dissipation ratefirst-order upwind
(external flow)Initialization
Initialization method Standard
gauge pressure101325 pascal
z-velocity8 m.s-1
x-velocity, y-velocity0 m.s-1


After the solution process is complete, two-dimensional and three-dimensional contours related to pressure, velocity, as well as path lines and two-dimensional and three-dimensional velocity vectors are obtained. The contours, path lines, and two-dimensional vectors are plotted in the XY section. Also, the pressure distribution contour on the wall surfaces is obtained.

All files, including Geometry, Mesh, Case & Data, are available in Simulation File. By the way, Training File presents how to solve the problem and extract all desired results.


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